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Emerald City - Beautiful Wickedness - Review

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This is the kind of episode I have been waiting for. “Beautiful Wickedness” is now my favorite episode so far in this season of Emerald City. I’ve made my peace with the fact that this show is now ignoring the canon of The Wizard of Oz and this is the episode that helped me do it. It took a while for me to become invested in the story being laid out, but now that events are moving quicker and answers are being presented, I find I am intrigued by what’s to come. The Wizard’s backstory played a large part in this I’m glad the episode chose to open with that. Now that tensions are rising and action is unfolding, I’m ready to sit back and see what outcome will occur. I know in my last review I said that this story seemed to be more about Tip’s development, but “Beautiful Wickedness” is very much a Dorothy story, if only that she is the thing tying all of our other characters together and bringing their conflicts into one plot.

I actually enjoyed Emerald City's version of the Wizard very much now that we have his backstory. He makes more sense as a character now that we know his motivations both outside of Oz and within it. He is a man that is jealous of magic being more wondrous than his science, hence his emphasis on stamping it out. It’s his way of holding power over a land where he is no longer an outcast but a respected figure. The fact that Jane from Ev is also from our world caught me completely off guard. Knowing that and also that she doesn’t make it back from Oz makes me want to see more of her and her role in the upcoming conflicts between Ev, Oz, and Glinda’s forces.

Seeing the Wizard as a misanthropic lab assistant, someone who was willing to jeopardize others’ work to prove himself, shows just how far he will go to maintain his hold on the land that has become his living fantasy. And, if that wasn’t enough, his killing Anna one of his closest confidants, sealed the deal. I’m glad Emerald City decided to not make him Dorothy’s father, to instead show his desire and misguided belief that Dorothy’s mother loved him. I enjoyed that we see he was a fan of Orson Wells, lending to the audience’s understanding of how he modeled his Wizard persona, as well as the use of the name “Frank” which has to be a nod to The Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum. Also, where can I get one of those Wizard science propaganda posters we saw in the background throughout the episode because the design and aesthetic is great.

We knew Glinda was shady, that she was being presented as the great evil of Emerald City. I enjoy how this was teased out, how she has had a hand in everything and that her presence is constantly felt in “Beautiful Wickedness” despite her not appearing. The twist on the Wizard’s request that a witch be killed in exchange for Dorothy going home wasn’t especially shocking but was still nice to see. It’s odd to me that West and Dorothy seem to be becoming begrudging allies considering they are always straight enemies whenever this story is retold. I’m wondering if a betrayal will be in the future.

Lucas’s role in this episode was the angst shirtless, so that wasn’t ground breaking, though the secret of his memories was both satisfying and disappointing. For some reason the idea that he was a straight up monster whose memory loss quelled his bloodlust was an intriguing dark take on the character. Finding out he was a protector was a bit of a step down for me, but knowing that he was a pawn in Glinda’s larger scheme and that we don’t have every scrap of information about his actions does make up for it a bit. I’m glad Emerald City didn’t give Lucas’s whole story just yet; there’s more to learn and I’m interested in discovering how he came to be in Glinda’s service. Again, the romantic angle between Dorothy and Lucas just doesn’t hit a chord with me and I could do without it.

Knowing that the mother of all witches lives is an exciting prospect. I want to see why she has been in hiding all these years instead of wiping out the Wizard with her magic. The conflict between Glinda and West is sure to come to a head as well and I can’t believe I’m rooting for the Wicked Witch of the West, but here we are. And speaking of conflict, Tip and Jack did get their reunion and I’m glad it wasn’t an easy one. I’m rooting for Tip but at the same time I am very much on Jack’s side. It’s natural that he was angry and fences won’t mend overnight. They were reunited, but now that Lady Ev is going back to her land, we won’t be seeing jack and Tip together again soon. Also, it appears that whatever was going on between Jack and Lady Ev has taken a step backwards. She is just as controlling and severe as ever. Though in my opinion, mask or no mask, she is the snappiest dresser in the Land of Oz

War is coming, secrets are out, and I really am not sure what will come next. I’m thankful for that since it’s renewed my interest in Emerald City. I'm feeling rather positive about the show now. I’m intrigued to see how Ev will manufacture guns and if the war between Glinda and Oz might add another front should Ev decide to rebel as well. The Beast Forever that has been implied to be a huge threat remains in the background. I still think it will somehow be Dorothy. For now, I can’t wait to see Glinda’s realm and how she will deal with being an open aggressor, instead of hiding behind her lily white fa├žade and her secrets.

Tune in next week for “They Came First”!

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